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An Unconventional Means to Boost Sales

Shop and Smell the Roses
 
What do women, depression, and "smell marketing" all have in common? The bizarre answer: retail sales. An odd but true discovery was made that aromas can entice women (particularly depressed women) to buy retail goods. What follows below is the science behind the phenomenon.
 
Aromatherapy
 
Scientists from Tel Aviv University have linked depression to a biological mechanism that affects the olfactory glands.  It might explain why some women, without realizing it, wear too much perfume.
 
Scientific research that supports this theory was published this year in Arthritis and Rheumatism.  "Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume," explains Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld at Tel Aviv University.  
 
Apparently autoantibodies weaken a person's sense of smell, which can induce depression.   "People who are depressed seem to respond well to aromatherapy. Certain smells seem to help them overcome the effects of the biological factors, suggesting that depression may have a biological cause," said Shoenfeld. "I think that science is able to show that aromatherapy might not be just for quacks.  After all, some of these remedies have been used since the time of the Egyptians to treat organic diseases."
 
Retail Therapy
 
Women who are depressed have a decreased sense of smell, which means they particularly respond to noticeable fragrances in smell marketing. Because depressed women are accustomed to not noticing smells, they are quick to associate positive feelings when they finally do detect a scent, thus luring them to purchase the corresponding product.
 
The association between one's sense of smell and depression has interesting implications for "smell marketing," used by retailers to encourage shoppers to buy, especially around holiday time. "These tactics are already being used by retailers and banks all over the world," says Prof. Shoenfeld.
 
"The retail industry has learned that if it splashes good smells around, it can convince clients to buy more and invest more money. It certainly has an effect on one's mood."

By Adam Herschkowitz
Get Retail Jobs, Contributing Editor

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